The turtle fossil has never been known

A group of paleontologists have discovered a previously unknown species of fossil, which is quite similar in shape to some reptiles, named Pappochelys, who once lived in place. Today belongs to Germany in the middle of Triassic about 240 million years ago, considered a missing link in the evolutionary history of turtles.

Uncover fossils of an unknown turtle

" The mystery of the tortoise shell is a long-standing question in evolutionary biology in the case of Pappochelys, we find that its belly is protected by an array of bone rods, some of which have been fused together. "The team member, Dr. Hans-Dieter Sues of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, said.

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Hans-Dieter page quoted Hans-Dieter: 'Such a period in the evolution of tortoise shells has long been predicted by today's turtle embryo studies but has never been observed in fossils. until now ".

Dr. Hans-Dieter Sues and Dr. Rainer Schoch of Stuttgart Museum of Natural History , have studied more than a dozen samples of Pappochelys that have been collected since 2006.

Pappochelys are about 20 cm long, living in a tropical environment along the banks of a lake where is now southern Germany.Reptiles use their tiny teeth to eat insects and worms. They have a long tail to help swim.

Scientists believe that the discovery of this species confirms the abdomen of tortoise shells , called bibs , that form through the fusion of rib-like structures and shoulder bones.

The physical characteristics of Pappochelys indicate it a clear intermediate between two of the earliest known turtle species, Eunotosaurus and Odontochelys .

Eunotosaurus is considered to be the oldest predecessor of the turtle living 260 million years ago in what is today South Africa. It has many features unique to turtles, including wide ribs and lack of intercostal muscles, which attach between ribs. Eunotosaurus also has a long, slender tail.

The features in Pappochelys' skull also provide important evidence that turtles are most closely associated with other modern reptiles, such as lizards and snakes. Previously, archaeologists believed that turtles could have originated from the first known reptiles .

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